High Speed Two Ltd is a company established by the UK Department for Transport in 2009 to investigate the feasibility of building a new high speed rail line between London and Scotland. 

The company was tasked with producing:

  • a detailed report and business case for a London to West Midlands high speed route by end 2009, and
  • higher level appraisal of options to extend further north to Manchester, Leeds, other parts of north England, and Scotland.  

Essential Planning Limited provided expert environmental assessment, planning and stakeholder engagement advice to the HS2 Ltd team to ensure delivery of an appraisal of sustainability report alongside a suite of other HS2 documents to the Secretary of State for Transport by end 2009. 

A range of reports were published in March 2010 on the Department for Transport website. 

The Appraisal of Sustainability and various other related documents were published in 2011, to accompany a strategic consultation on the proposals. 

Through the expert services of Tanya Burdett as Manager, Environmental Assessment, we provided:

  • Guidance on spatial planning implications and compliance with EU Directives including the following:
    • Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive,
    • Habitats Directive, and
    • Public Participation Directive and Aarhus Convention
  • Guidance on the level and nature of environmental and sustainability appraisal required
  • Development and management of the tendering process and work undertaken by consultants appointed to undertake the Appraisal of Sustainability of HS2 proposals
  • Stakeholder liaison including regular briefings of:
    • HS2 Technical Challenge Group,
    • AoS Reference Group,
    • other ad hoc groups established to discuss particular impacts including climate change and noise impacts
    • Ministers including the Secretary of State for Transport on the key impacts of the proposals, potential for mitigation, and recommendations for improvements in scheme design 
  • Advice on preparation for the strategic consultation on HS2 proposals, expected in early 2011.

Company registered in England and Wales, Reg No 5023852